Synthetic Biology Approach for Resolving Diseases

Scientists at NCCS are tapping into synthetic biology techniques for understanding the dynamics of infectious diseases like Leishmaniasis and designing simple to complex synthetic circuits made of biological building blocks (bio bricks), which can be used to reprogram various pathways inside a variety of cells involved in the pathogenesis. They are currently developing a tristable circuit for Leishmaniasis and have identified few key molecules namely Sphingolipids, IPCS (Inositol phosphoryl ceramide synthase) enzymes involved in sphingolipid metabolism and SLS4 proteins, which help in optimizing the synthetic circuit for resolving the disease.

synthetic biology

Site-specific delivery of this circuit into the Leishmania parasite using suitable drug delivery systems is expected to alter the sphingolipid metabolism of the parasite thereby reducing its infectivity as a whole. Potential use of synthetic circuits is in providing therapeutic opportunities for future gene and cell-based therapies.


  1. Regulatory dynamics of network architecture and function in tristable genetic circuit of Leishmania: a mathematical biology approach,Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 2015, 1-9 (Article).
  2. Molecular evolution of the enzymes involved in the sphingolipid metabolism of Leishmania: selection pressure in relation to functional divergence and conservation, BMC evolutionary biology, 2014,1: 1 (Article).
  3. Synthetic circuit of inositol phosphorylceramide synthase in Leishmania: a chemical biology approach,Journal of chemical biology, 2013, 6(2), 51-62 (Article).
  4. Biological network modellingidentitifies IPCS in Leishmania as a therapeutic target, Integr. Biol., 2012, 4(9), 1130-1142 (Article).
  5. Sphingolipids are essential for differentiation but not growth in Leishmania,The EMBO journal, 2003, 22(22), 6016-6026 (Article).

Technology Readiness: TRL B1/ B2

Technology Status: Proprietary Know-how

Technology Availability: Know-how available for co-development and/or sponsored projects.